A man was publicly executed before a crowd of hundreds in Pakistan's lawless northwest tribal belt Tuesday after a Taliban court found him guilty of double murder, witnesses and officials said.
The execution underscored the strong Taliban influence in North Waziristan, a district bordering Afghanistan and thick with Al-Qaeda-linked networks, where Pakistani commanders feel under US pressure to launch an offensive.
Several hundred people gathered to watch the execution of Waheed Khan, 25, near the main market in Miranshah.
The role of executioner fell on a cousin of two brothers he was found guilty of killing in Miranshah.
"Waheed Khan was picked up three weeks ago by Taliban and investigated and found guilty of cold-blooded murder by a Taliban court. The accused gave no reason for killing the two men," a militant who asked not to be named said.
"We asked the relatives of the deceased men to forgive, but they refused and under Islamic law it was decided that the convict be shot by them," he added.
Witnesses said the executioner was given a Kalashnikov rifle with six bullets in it, which he fired at a handcuffed and blindfolded Khan who was forced to sit on the ground.
Local administration and intelligence officials confirmed the execution but refused to comment.
Washington considers the Afghan-Pakistani border areas a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda, where success in rooting out Islamist militants is vital if the US military is to reverse a nearly nine-year Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
Although Pakistan has waged multiple offensives against homegrown Taliban in the tribal belt, troops have so far refrained from launching an all-out assault in North Waziristan.
The chief suspect in a New York bomb plot last month, Faisal Shahzad, allegedly told interrogators that he went to Waziristan for bomb training.